The Verona boys cross country team’s training trip in Colorado Springs before the season already is paying off.

Verona had five of the top 10 runners to win the Monona Grove Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 10, at the Monona Grove Golf Course.

“I think it helped me individually a lot because I haven’t ran all summer before that,” said Verona senior Ryan Cassiday. “I feel like running out there helped me catch up with my teammates. I think it also helped people boost their confidence while we were out there and improve their training.”

The Wildcats turned in a dominating performance to win the Verona Invitational on Tuesday, Sept. 6, at Stewart’s Woods in Verona. The invitational was first scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 4, but the race was postponed because of lightning that led to a two-hour delay.

Verona rolled to the title 29-77 over runner-up Mautson in the seven-team invitational.

Monona Grove Invitational

Verona senior Blake Oleson won the Monona Grove Invitational Sept. 10, running the 5,000-meter course in 16 minutes, 13.1 seconds.

The Wildcats outdueled Division 2’s sixth-ranked Lakeside Lutheran 25-55 for the team title. Big Eight Conference rival Madison East took third (91) and Stoughton was fourth (114) in the nine-team invitational.

Cassiday finished third (16:28.3), his second top-four finish of the week. Nathan Simon took fifth (16:52.2) and Max Metcalf placed sixth (16:55.3). Simon Van Houten finished 10th (17:25.7) to round out the top five for the Wildcats.

Verona Invitational

The Wildcats had five of the top 10 runners to win the Verona Invitational on Sept. 6, at Stewart’s Woods.

Oleson finished second with a time of 16:52. Cassiday took fourth (17:09).

“I was really happy it got rescheduled because I really wanted to push myself on this course because I was unsatisfied with last year’s performance,” Cassiday said. “I’m really happy with today and how I raced.”

Simon finished sixth (17:22) followed by Metcalf in seventh (17:32). Van Houten placed 10th (18:06).

Cassiday, who missed the first meet of the year because of a sore foot, said the team was treating the race like a training run. He’s not concerned about his foot any more.

“We were just playing it safe,” he said.

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